Palace: Duterte’s warning to erring companies with unsettled tax dues applies to ABS-CBN

Images from RTVM/ABS-CBN News
  • The Palace said Duterte’s threat against erring firms applies to ABS-CBN as well
  • The President earlier warned it will not implement franchises for companies with unsettled obligations
  • His statement came after Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto filed a bill seeking to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise

The Malacañan Palace on Tuesday confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement against erring companies applies to all who have unsettled tax obligations with the government including the embattled ABS-CBN.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte’s pronouncement was not edited and it’s very clear that it applies to all those applying for congressional franchises.

“And insofar as ABS-CBN is one of them, I guess it is a safe conclusion it is also applicable to ABS-CBN but it applies to all those who want a franchise,” Roque told reporters during a press briefing.

Image capture of video by PTV4 via YouTube

On Monday evening, the President warned firms applying for franchises he will not implement them until they have fully settled their accounts with the government.

“For all I care, you can have a thousand franchises, you will not see the light of day until you come to government with clean hands,” Duterte said.

While the president made no specific mention of ABS-CBN, his statement came just hours after Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto filed a fresh bill seeking to renew ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise which was rejected by the same Congress in July last year.

Recto, a known supporter of the Lopez-owned media outlet, said ABS-CBN “has remained steadfast in its commitment to reach out to as many Filipinos as possible by delivering their quality core program closer to our countrymen by taking advantage of emerging broadcast technologies.”

Image from ABS-CBN News

It was the Lower House version of a similar bill filed by Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III early this month.

In July 2020, 70 congressmen voted to junk ABS-CBN’s application for a new franchise on the allegation that the company shortchanged the government by paying less taxes than it should have paid over the past years.

This despite the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) clearing the Kapamilya network of any liability by saying the company had paid a total of P70.5-billion tax to the government for the past seven years.